tv Inside Story Al Jazeera January 10, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm EST
"inside story" is next. check us out on aljazeera.com. black, white and latino men are arrested by the time they're 23, how does that shape their lives, and how does that affect a country where crime has been dropping steadily for decades. that's inside story. >> hello, i'm ray soares. a group of scholars are getting taken. they show that half
of black men are arrested. and latino men at 44%. they raise provocative questions. do the large number of men reflect the rising law enforcement at schools? if crime has been dropping for a generation, why are are those numbers so high in the first place? or has crime been dropping so much because young men have gotten so much attention from the criminal justice system in and after years of it a tough attitude on even minor crime, young men are finding it tough to get around. a study has a striking phenomenon in the lives of young americans. a surprising number of young men, regardless of their race, have been arrested by law enforcement at least once before they reach age 23.
the journal, crime and delinquency, has published a study done by justice professors. it found that 49% of black men have experienced an arrest. 44% of hispanic men, and it 44% of white men by age 23. the study is an analysis of government data, which track 9,000 teenagers and young adults over ten years, starting in 1997. the study focused on arrest histories, ranging from underaged drinking to violent crimes, but it excluded minor traffic of violations. the analysis also looked at young women. and found that though the arrest percentages differed from young men in title, was strikingly reversed from racial total in young men. by 23, 20% of white women had been arrested. 18% for hispanic women, and 16%
for black females. citing other research, arrested youth are not only more likely to experience immediate negative consequences, such as contact with the justice system, school failure and drop out and family difficulties, but these problems are likely to long reverberate down the life course in arrests, job stability, low relationship troubles, and long term health problems, including premature death. according to the fbi, violent crime arrests have declined over the last two years, and the arrests of juveniles declined by 10% from 2011 to 2012. for the rest of the program, we'll talk about what those high rates of arrest mean for young americans as they enter their adult years. joining us from
albany, shawn bushway, one the leading authors of the study, hubert williams, former police director in newark, new jersey, law enforcement veteran and served as the president of the foundation. from new york, parker, the director of the justice program of the american civil liberties union. professor bushway, let me start with you, be what provoked you to look at this particular set of data? >> well, there has been a growing interest in the use of criminal history records by moistures and others, and the question arises, what percentage of people are going to be affected by policies that are directed at individuals with a criminal history record? so as the most minor record, what is the most prevalent in
data. and we published a paper that used this national survey by the department of labor to answer this question, and we came up with an estimate that said about 30% of american youth, by the age of 23, had at least one arrest. and this was compared to the only previous estimate in the literature from 1967, only 22% of people had an arrest in 1965. and it led to an increase, but there were many questions that we fielded. what's the difference by race and sex? so we decided to take the next step and try to look at this by african men versus white men and hispanic men and the same thing for women. and we thought it would be worthwhile to address. >> so overall, the share of young americans who have ever been arrested, has nearly it be
doubled in the last roughly 50 years. >years. from 22 to 30%. so the number that we estimated for all americans is 30%. both men and women. and so that number has gone up about 50%. >> so among men, it's 40% overall? >> for men, it's 40% overall, and in 1965, the estimate for men was 34%. these data are from the 1960s, and they used a different method than we did, the different source of data. and you can use a question, is this capturing differences? or the method, we believe that the difference is real, and it reflects the increase in arrest rates in the 80s and 90s.
>> and just to be clear. we're not talking about people who have been tried and convicted of something. just arrested, right? >> yes, just arrested, correct. yes, that,. >> now, hubert women's williams, when you hear those numbers, are they surprising or high or low. >> they do not strike me as high. i would hava expected it to be high. the differences between race, particularly african-american males and caucasian males. i would have expected it to be higher. one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that the police policies impact significantly the percentage of people that are going to get arrested in general. particularly people of a particular class or race. when we look at the big problem that society has been faced with, drugs and violence associated with those drugs,
then you get the use of the police to target neighborhoods in which this occurs. >> now, when you talk about working the street, isn't arrest just one of a number of tools that any individual officer can use on the street in his beat? >> what's interesting, ray, is that over the last three decades, there has been a change in the police attitude about the nature of their role and responsibility. at one point, the police thought that they could ham these matters. they were the law enforcement and it was their job. they knew how to do it, and they didn't want any interference. in today's world, the police believe that the community is part of the safety network, and to be effective, they have to work with the community. so a lot of the police leaders in the country have to work with the community, to find out what their interest is, and the focus on whether or not they should do something on one way or another way. but the police want to be closer to the people that they serve. for example --
>> let me stop you right there. i heard professor bush way talking about this tremendous rise among young people in arrests. and i'm wondering if you were walking in the beat in 1965, whether even finding the same infractions underway, whether you might have used a different tool in the police tool's kit, besides arrest and detention in that moment. >> if you go back to 1965, i think that you'll find that the police had considerably more respect in community the way that police looked at the community. now people question authority of all levels, and that's a serious problem when it comes to police, because they will not accept any question of their authority. >> dennis parker, when you hear numbers like this, what does it tell you about the experiences of growing up as a young person in today's america? >> i think that it says that
there's a large group of people, particularly children of color, getting used to having their friends arrested and being exposed to the criminal justice system. we do a lot of work trying to fight what we call the school to prison pipeline, which looks at issues and policies and practices which pushes children out of schools into the criminal justice system, and the numbers that you reported are completely consistent with the work that we have seen and the work we do. that is with the continuing police presence in schools, students are being arrested at a much higher rate than before. but what's significant, the level of crime has gone down, and we tribute that to the fact that essentially, what's happening is the things that would have gotten you or me sent to the principal's office now frequently result in you being arrested because there's a police officer who is always on duty or perhaps hasn't gotten
the training in dealing in a school environment, who doesn't have a clear understanding of exactly what his roll is. so that people are being arrested, and it's not because the kids are misbehaving more or their conduct is different than it was in the past. it's just the whole environment is now more conducive to these arrests happening. >> dep is parker is joining us in new york. when we come back after a short break, we'll talk about what being arrested means to you for the rest of your life. >> every sunday night, join us for exclusive... revealing... and surprising talks... with the most interesting people of our time... >> as an artist you have the right to fail... that's a big right to have >> his work is known across the globe. but little is known about the gorilla artist behind the glasses... we turned the camera on the photographer shaking up the art world. >> 2...
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>> my guess is they won't be voting for me... >> al jazeera america presents caucus >> welcome back to "inside story." i'm ray soares. a new story points to the vexing problem of youth arrest in this country. and we're continuing our conversation about the causes and the impacts of youth in trouble. still with us, in albany, professor for criminal justice, hubert williams, police director in new jersey, and dennis parkish of the american civil liberties union. professor bushway, the way that people feel is sometimes hard to measure, but i'm wondering if the get tough policies that came in with the rise in crime in america are still appropriate with our numbers rising with the crime numbers.
if we still have the holdover feelings about when and where to arrest people that are not necessarily appropriate to a low crime atmosphere. >> i think its important to remember that in 1965, the estimate was that 34% of men had at least one arrest by the time they were 23, and now we're talking about 40%. so it's an increase, but it's not a huge increase relative to where we were before. and it speaks to a larger issue, that oftentimes we don't want to hire people or have people in schools that have a criminal history record. and i think that the first thing that this research points out, if you say something like that, you have just eliminated over one-third of the population by age 23. and if you go up to age 40, you would be even higher. i think that you have to be aware that this is a much more common experience that many people realize.
in terms of the question of the limits of getting tough, i think that particularly where it leads to convictions and incarceration, people have to understand that there are consequences over and above the criminal justice involvement and we have to think about the benefits of that. particularly if these collateral consequences lead to defending people that you're trying to stop defending. >> but the biggest in america and other places have gone steadily down since the big rise we saw in the '80s. and yet, we saw a rise in the number of young men being arrested. how do you understand that? >> to me, it's not that complicated. the police have been called upon to deal with a drug problem if our society. particularly the hard drugs. when this happens, the police go
where they can see the drugs being moved about in the city. and there's a bigger chance that people are going to get arrested bit police, checked by the police there than other areas. >> even though drugs are being used in the suburbs, and they are. >> because basically the police roll is street crime. they're not going to into apartments of people smoking joints in the apartment unless they have evidence sufficient to build a case. it's much easier and clearer from the police perspective, when they see the crime, and they have information related to the crime, whe in the inner cit, the police demand that they do something about the problem. they are targeting the problem and arresting far more people. >> professor bushway, you were talking about the assumption that people are going to have a
tougher life after they get arrested. and the understanding that we are making life tougher for one-third of our people. view. >> number one, we have to recognize that if you are convicted and you serve your time, you have paid your debt to society. and the fact that people have to continue suffering the consequences in terms of their access to jobs, to apartments, and whether they can get federal student loans. we have to say what we believe in, that people should have a chance, and should be able to become positive parts of society. >> but our politicians who got positive notice bypassing the tougher laws need to say now it's time to stop making it harder to get a student loan if someone has been arrested. >> one of the things that have
been going on, people realize that it's expensive to society as well as to the individuals, to the families and to the communities to continue to incarcerate people and arrest people for very minor offenses. particularly when those arrests and incarceration follows racial and ethnic lines. so there's beginning to be some recognition that the criminal justice policy that looks at punishment and particularly disproportionate punishment isn't good for society, as well as being not good for individuals. >> hubert williams, we have a very short time least. left. is the public going to understand so they don't arrest as many people? >> i think that the public is not going to go for that. the public wants the police to do their job. what an individual does to
himself, how are we going to treat that with criminal offenses now. we have seen big changes in colorado and now the governor of new york. what we classify as a crime has a huge impact on what the police do and fail to do. so society has to come to some recognition, these are the things that when you hurt people and take something from somebody else, these are the priorities that you need to focus on. when we do that to somebody else. >> thank you for joining us. that brings us to the end of this edition of "inside story." from washington, i'm ray soares.
welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we are following for you. a week jobs report. we'll have reaction from the white house. new problems for target. nearly one in three adults in america could be effected by that massive data breach. a chemical leak in west virginia, rez -- residents there being told don't drink the water. there was some very disappointing news for american workers today. the labor department saying just 74,000 jobs created last month. economists